Gilda Morelli


Gilda Morelli, Ph.D., is a faculty member in the Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology at Boston College. Her research addresses the role of ecological and cultural processes in mediating children’s relational experiences. This work began with Efe hunters and gatherers of DR Congo over 30 years ago, and represents one strand of research on similarities and differences in children’s social experiences in communities in DR Congo, Gabon, the U.S. and Guatemala. Morelli, currently, is examining children’s use of relational networks to secure needed scarce resources. This interest evolved from her experience as a public policy fellow and consultant for the Department of Health and Human, and from her scholarship on children’s attachments.

More than Nice: Why Cultural Perspectives on Young Children’s Attachments are Necessary

The role of cultural processes in children’s attachments is the focus of this presentation. Research on Efe hunter-gatherer children’s relational experiences serve as a reference point. Taking cultural seriously runs counter to traditional attachment theory and research, even though representative scholars claim otherwise. These scholars point to inclusion of diverse communities, and community responsive adaptations to procedure and interpretation, as evidence of the ecocultural mindedness of their efforts. These efforts are unsatisfactory. They do not interrogate the assumptions on which attachment theory is based, and, as a result, rest on views of the relational-other and -self that are not universally shared. This is problematic as the reach of attachment theory spans country borders, and makes ever more clear why a cultural approach to children’s attachments is necessary and not just nice – the ethics of this necessity are compelling.

Gilda Morelli’s website can be found here.